Grotto owner over the moon after venue featured in national clifftop hotel list

The owner of a popular hotel has spoken of his delight after his business was featured in a national newspaper’s pick of 10 recommended coastal accommodation spots.

The Observer newspaper recently published its ‘10 of Britain’s clifftop hotels’ piece, which saw The Grotto at Marsden rank number seven in the list.

The entry reads: “Not so much perched on a cliff as built into one, Marsden Grotto in South Shields came into existence back in 1782 when Jack Bates and his wife Jessie used explosives to create a cave to live in.

"By the 19th century, the cave had become a bar popular with smugglers. In the 1950s, a lift was added from the coast road and the Grotto morphed into a much-loved seafood restaurant and bar.

Clifftop view of The Grotto at Marsden, South Tyneside.

"Two years ago rooms were also added, some in the original 18th-century cave with freestanding baths and a sense of fun.

"Definitely not polished, but completely unlike anywhere else in the UK.”

But, owner Terry Maughan said the national recognition has given the business and surrounding area an unexpected lift after a mixed summer season for hospitality traders.


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"It was absolutely great to see,” he said.

"I hadn’t spotted it at first. So one of the staff emailed me one day with the piece, asking me if I’d realised we’d been featured. I hadn’t until then, but was delighted to see that we had been.

“So I didn’t know about when it was first published, as no one had approached me [prior to publication]. But this is great publicity for the hotel and for South Tyneside as a whole since it’s a national paper.”

Mr Maughan added that the Observer mention has led to a string of bookings during the normally-quiet winter period, as the hotel seeks to make up for lost time and custom after being forced to close its doors for the best part of a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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"We had a few doubters when we reopened earlier in the year. So this couldn’t have come at a better time, really,” he said.

"We’ve quite a good few bookings come in for the winter time on the back of this – which’ll help us a great deal, as things always slow down around here during that time of year.”

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